Triangulation never works out. It fractures relationships and situationships. Yet our learned dialogue patterns in the West are founded upon creating this very pattern. With young children and empathy coaching students I tried to have the two parties engage with each other rather than give advise when solicited for it. When someone comes to you for advise you become a third sider as it is not your situation. Therefore if you share your opinion or perspective you are interfering instead of holding the space for the advice seeker to find their own connection to resolving it. If I gave my opinion or perspective as the 3rd sider, I would be influencing an outcome, not mine to influence.
Learning and integrating Marshall Rosenberg’s dialogue pattern was like the universe took a breath and let go of all this tension surrounding me. This pattern supports others in a way too that reduces the spectrum of negative emotions and begins to limit conflict in the environment. With my children they would have some situation between them and rather than engage in resolving it they would come to me to tell on each other. Unfortunately for them I didn’t involve myself in the story they were telling and rather steered them to listening to each other in a way they could hear what was alive in them and each other. In the moment it takes time until the pattern is learned, however it saves energy and reduces conflict long term. Think about a situation of gossip that harmed you in the past and how long it took to get over it or for clarity to come.
Consider your pattern of third siding. Do you become an authority over others in situations that aren’t yours or do you genuinely listen to the person seeking advice and hold the space for them and the party they are seeking to get clarity about? Those seeking advice consider if you are letting others have power over what it is you are seeking advice about. This is important as it directly interferes with self-trust, self-esteem and self-confidence. The self-inquiry then becomes why am I letting someone tell me what to do? It becomes far more important that the original need for checking in with them in the first place. Do they really have my best interest at heart? What need are they meeting? Why? As soon as someone knows the answers of what you should be doing they are not holding your best interest to heart. They are directing you in a way to meet their needs – power over. It puts you in a power under experience that grows and sometimes can become abusive.